Background: Religion and spirituality can be valuable resources in coping with bereavement. There is a paucity of studies focusing specifically on their role in suicide bereavement, although there are indications that religion/spirituality can be helpful for suicide survivors. Aims: The study explores the role of religion and/or spirituality in suicide bereavement by analyzing this theme in online memorials dedicated to suicide victims. Method: We randomly selected 250 memorials in two online cemeteries: Faces of Suicide and Gone too Soon. Interpretative and deductive thematic analysis was used to identify themes in the collected material, including the theme of religion/spirituality. Results: References to religion/spirituality were found in 14% of memorials. These memorials were written by family members, friends, and (ex-)partners of the deceased and were dedicated mostly to young adult males. Religion/spirituality was mentioned in the context of God's will, peace wish, continuation of the spirit, afterlife, reunion, gratitude, description of the deceased, and grief reactions of suicide survivors. Conclusion: Some suicide survivors spontaneously mention the role of religious/spiritual beliefs in coping with their loss. Future studies could explore which subgroups of the bereaved are likely to turn to these resources, and whether they can contribute to the well-being of the suicide survivors.
- Online memorialization
- Suicide survivors